Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking

by Justin Holcomb, co-author with Lindsey Holcomb of Rid of My Disgrace

On February 5th, 2012, over a hundred million people will watch Super Bowl XLVI. Few of them will know about the horrific crimes that will be committed during and around the event in Indianapolis.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched program on TV every year. But many people don’t know about its dark underside: the Super Bowl, as are other large sporting events, is also a magnet for sex trafficking and child prostitution. It is possibly the largest sex trafficking event in the US. As more than 100,000 football fans descend on Indianapolis, sex traffickers and pimps will also arrive in droves to take advantage of the demand.

What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of people by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploiting them.

The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people are trafficked annually. The U.S. State Department estimates an even higher number: about 12.3 million adults and children “in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world.” It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels organized crime. Victims of trafficking are forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves many kinds of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. It’s the fastest-growing criminal activity in the world, according to the United Nations, bringing in an estimated $32 billion a year. In the US, sex trafficking brings in $9.5 billion annually.

Trafficking in the United States
The United States is a destination country for international trafficking: foreign women and children are transported into the United States for purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. The US State Department estimates that approximately eighteen thousand foreign nationals are trafficked annually into the United States.

Victims are brought to the United States from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Most women and children brought to the United States find themselves forced to work in massage parlors, commercial or residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs.

Sex trafficking also happens to United States citizens residing within US borders. The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry annually. The average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old.

Traffickers coerce women and children to enter the commercial sex industry through a variety of recruitment techniques in strip clubs, street-based prostitution, and escort services.

From victim to slave
Domestic sex traffickers particularly target vulnerable young girls, such as runaway, homeless, and foster care children. In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is thirteen. Incest and other forms of abuse often drive children to run away from home, making them vulnerable to the slick tactics of sex traffickers.

The pimp seduces a recruit with the lure of love, protection, wealth, designer clothes, fancy cars, and exclusive nightclubs. Pimps move from city to city looking for children and young women who are easy prey: alone, desperate, and alienated. Once a pimp moves a victim from her hometown into a strange city, the pimp can easily force her to work as a prostitute. Thousands of children and women are victimized in this way every year.

Super Bowl
Large sporting events like the Super Bowl are prime targets for sex traffickers because of the high demand generated by thousands of men pouring into an area for a weekend of fun. The 2010 Super Bowl saw an estimated 10,000 sex workers brought into Miami. Despite efforts to crackdown on sex trafficking at the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, there was still a tremendous amount of women and children sexually exploited. In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued, but new efforts are gaining traction: a bill moving through the Indiana legislature aims to toughen the state’s sex-trafficking law before the Super Bowl.

Human trafficking is an attack on God
Human trafficking is a sin against the victim and a sin against God. Evil is anti-creation, anti-life, and the force that seeks to oppose, deface, and destroy God, his good world, and his image bearers. Simply put, when someone defaces a human being—God’s image bearer—it is ultimately an attack against God himself.

The victim’s experience of trafficking is not ignored by God or minimized by the Bible, and it is not outside of the scope of healing and hope found in redemption. God’s response to evil and violence is redemption, renewal, and re-creation because of the gospel of Christ. And that should be the church’s message.

Christians and churches need to be awakened to the modern-day slavery occurring in our cities. Convinced of the problem? Here are some practical ways you can make a difference:

6 Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking
Get informed and inform others. A recommended reading list can be found here.
Read Rid of My Disgrace to earn about the effects of sexual assault and sex trafficking and the hope and healing for victims found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Support organizations fighting trafficking:
International Justice Mission
Not For Sale
Unearthed Pictures
Abolition International
Get involved
Be an informed consumer
Join a local or state anti-trafficking group
Justin Holcomb is a pastor at Mars Hill Church, the Executive Director of the Resurgence, and the author (with his wife Lindsey) of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.

Stay Focused

Stay Focused

While Jesus was on earth, He could have done all sorts of fantastic things.

He could have built buildings that would have made the engineers and architects of the Roman Empire look stupid. He could have opened a university and taught science to the smartest scholars from every nation.

He could have conducted the largest Gospel crusade the world had ever seen.

He could have healed all the sick people on earth and cleared out every hospital.

He could have sent out 12,000 apostles instead of 12 to build His Church.

Why did Jesus refrain from doing these and a million other wonderful things that were within His power? The simple answer is this:

Jesus knew His mission—the one task for which He came.

He stated it very clearly: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Although He was well aware that He would die for the sins of the whole world, He also knew that He needed to accomplish His mission within the tiny nation of Israel. Jesus lived daily to fulfill His mission and never allowed Himself to be distracted by anything or anyone. When His journey came to an end, He simply said to His Father, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). And on the cross, He looked at humanity past, present and future and proclaimed, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Jesus was surrounded by distractions just like we are.

Right before He began His ministry, the devil attempted to cause Jesus to use His embodied spiritual powers in a selfish way and without the authorization of His Father. Jesus could have indeed turned stones into bread, jumped off the tower and survived, or walked away from the cross, but He refused.

Even when the devil used Peter and later the Greeks to try to prevent Him from completing His mission, Jesus still didn’t give in to distractions. Instead, He explained why He was keeping His focus: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain [fruit]” (John 12:24). And then in the last few hours of His life, when Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him and all of His disciples ran away, Jesus could have easily given up and said, “It’s all been a mistake. They betrayed everything I showed and lived before them. It’s not worth it”—and walked away from the cross. Thank God He didn’t.

Paul and Nehemiah also didn’t give in to distractions.

One of the secrets behind the Apostle Paul’s achievements in life was his absolute focus. His statement, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24) meant that none of the difficulties, persecutions and problems he faced could persuade him to walk away.

Nehemiah had the same determination when he was building the wall of Jerusalem. Although his enemies used every tactic in the book to frighten him into quitting, he kept right on building and answered, “Should such a man as I flee?” (Nehemiah 6:11).

Others gave in—and forfeited the most incredible possibilities they could have achieved in their lives.

Baalam the prophet was handpicked by God. Gehazi was in line to inherit Elisha’s mantle and a double portion of his master’s ministry. Demas could have possibly been the one to receive the torch from Paul. Yet all three got distracted by the love of this world and money and hence were sidetracked from their mission.

We are asked to follow Jesus’ example in handling distractions.

Each of us has a mission to fulfill in winning the lost world and building God’s kingdom. The writer of Hebrews gives us precise instructions about what we must do to keep our focus: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross …” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Christ, our example, is the One who has gone before us in the race. We are not asked to look at the spectators in the arena or at the other runners, but to keep our eyes on Jesus and imitate Him. Jesus Himself said, “Follow Me,” because He knew that staying focused would be one of the most difficult things for us to do.

I remember well when, during the early days of our ministry, someone offered me all the financial assistance in the world if I would give up my calling and commit myself to advance his cause overseas.

The thing that helped me walk away from this distraction was when my wife asked me, “When the journey comes to an end and you look back, what will you answer? If for the sake of money you compromise your calling and your walk with the Lord, how will you explain this to the people who are following you?”

My dear brothers and sisters, let us faithfully encourage each other daily to stay focused and to say no to distractions.

K.P. Yohannan Dr. K.P. Yohannan Founder & President of Gospel for Asia

for the past week or so, God is reminding me to “stay focused”

As i began to let that stir, a thought came to my mind. What makes us un-focused? could it be the daily hussle and bussle of the american life? Or is it that the enemy is using more things
to keep our focus off the cross? My opinion, they both work hand in hand. We get caught up because we have to get this done and this by this certain time before it gets lost or what ever the case may be, we are all victims of staying un-focused. But how would a person these days stay focused? First we have to think of this. What is one area in your life that distracts you the most from spending those hours, (minutes for some) with the King? While life’s ambitions may sway you from side to side, let’s just think of someone who never got distracted from His mission while He was on this earth, Jesus.

– Rev. Gary Farris Jr.